True Confession: I’m terrible at making time to meditate.
As a college student, I was probably my most diligent at meditation, or prayer as I called it then as a born again Christian. I had a regular morning practice I followed, a list of people and concerns I prayed for, sacred texts that I read, and long periods of speaking in tongues.
In my 30s, when I became a Quaker, I would go through phases where I practiced fairly regular meditation — typically after going on a retreat or some other spiritual journey — and then fall off the wagon for months.
For a year or so, I used an app on my computer that encouraged me to meditate regularly, inspired by my Buddhist friend Rafi. Every hour, the app would grey out my screen for 30 seconds to 1 minute. I would stop whatever I was doing, close my eyes and meditate for that period. Our office was totally cool with it, thankfully.
But it’s been many, many years since meditation has been a daily practice.
This Spring I have been trying a new method that seems to be working. Instead of setting a time to meditate, I set an intention: take twenty breaths. That’s it. Stop and breath.
I have the Reminders app on my phone set to ping me with a notification to do this every morning at 8am. So far it’s working.
I think by setting a realistic, countable goal, it helps me to get it done. I’ve found that twenty deep, cleansing breaths is just enough to get me into a meditative, calmer state. But it’s not so long that I can avoid it when I have something else pressing in front of me.
Give it a shot, if you are looking for a method that helps you to integrate meditation into your daily life.
Do you have something that works for your busy lifestyle? I’d love to hear about it.
UPDATE 9/12/2019: This Medium article on the benefits of deep breathing is worth a read.